The Archdiocese of Birmingham is aiming to feature a charity in need every Thursday.

With only days to go before the match funded part of their fundraising campaign is completed, Friends of the Holy Land is seeking your help to maximise the benefit of the match funding and get their total over the line! With around £15,000 to go - can you help?

Archbishop Bernard Longley - “I am grateful to you for outlining the increased challenges and difficulties that the Christian communities of the Holy Land are currently facing.  It is wonderful to know that you managed to raise £48,000 in such a short time in support of the communities in Bethlehem.”

The impact of the Coronavirus crisis has plunged many of the faithful in the Holy land into desperate poverty. Tourism, the main employer throughout the region, has collapsed and it is feared it will be many months before tourists return. Unlike the developed world, employment conditions for most are fragile, hand to mouth, 76 percent of families were assessed as living below the poverty line before this crisis. They are now pushed beyond their means by sudden unemployment. While all in the UK are suffering the impact of the economic crisis and no-one is guaranteed protection from the virus, many of the people of the Holy Land are especially vulnerable through limited medical resources and no financial safety net to support their family, no government help. Most have no savings to fall back on, nothing since the lockdown began in Bethlehem on March 6.

Close to 200,000 migrant workers with or without permits rely on incomes from Israel or the settlements and on average they each support a family of five, that's almost one million Palestinian individuals having their bread and butter on their table from the income generated from Israel. With the closure of the crossing points, since early March these incomes have no longer flowed.

In response to these needs Friends of the Holy Land launched the Pentecost Challenge on April 3 to raise much-needed funds for these vulnerable Christians at this very difficult time. Three generous supporters were inspired to come forward and match fund the first £100,000 that is raised by the Pentecost Challenge by 31 May 2020, therefore any donations received before that date will be matched pound for pound and so will have double the impact. 

Friends of the Holy Land’s team on the ground are already distributing support funded by the campaign to needy families. This has not been easy due to strict curfew conditions – so far nearly 100 families have received financial support for the basic supplies to last three months and more is going out every day.

You can help them continue in this essential work.